We celebrate Christmas and New Year only once a year, in December and January, but two cities - Klin and Khimki, in the Moscow Region, give us a chance to feel the spirit of these holidays all year round. Twelve halls of Klinskoye Podvorye Museum in Klin, 85 km northwest from Moscow, demonstrate the history of Christmas tree decorations, the process of their blowing and painting. Also, visiting a small factory of New Year's decorations Stil Studia in Khimki, you can not only observe the process but also participate in it and blow a glass ball for your Christmas tree.
The factory of Christmas decorations “Yolochka” in Klin is the oldest one in the country. In the hall of the museum decorated as a peasant's house, you can see the tools used for blowing glass balls in the 19th century, and learn why in Klin, peasants decided to blow the glass Christmas tree decorations in their houses. Long ago, village girls decorated the Christmas trees with their string of beads. Nowadays, glass beads remain a popular Christmas tree decoration.
Christmas decorations changed according to fashion and sometimes according to politics. Samovars and rimy fir-cones, angels and Bethlehem stars, were popular in the early 20th century. After the October revolution in 1917, the celebration of Christmas and even of New Year was prohibited. Only in 1935, the first Soviet New Year's tree was decorated. New Year's decorations corresponded to political slogans. According to the slogans of a food programme or friendship between the nations, the New Year trees were decorated with vegetables or figures of people in national dress.
Zeppelins, airplanes, spaceships and cosmonauts on the New Year trees reflected the technical progress of the country.
Christmas trees became very popular when people saw them on a stage in Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker”, based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story. P.I. Tchaikovsky composed this ballet in Klin. In Klinskoye Podvorye, you can see the characters from “The Nutcracker” under a Christmas tree decorated according to the old fashion, and listen to Tchaikovsky’s music. The factory produced a set of New Year's tree decorations “The Nutcracker”.
The artisans in Klin still use the technology of the 19th century. All decorations are hand-made. The factory in Klin produces only glass decorations. In Klin, you can see how artisans blow glass balls. They take the thin glass tubes, heat them to 600 degrees by using gas burners, and blow small balls. When you observe the process, it seems very easy. Artisans do it very quickly and skillfully. You can also try, but then you have to go to Stil Studia in Khimki.
Stil Studia is a small factory in the city called Khimki near Moscow that produces New Year's glass decorations. You can observe and participate in all the stages of decorations making. The first stage is blowing, and with the help of an instructor, you can blow a glass ball. It is not so easy. You need a concentration to make it perfectly round and of a particular size. If you try to make it too big, it can burst like a bubble.
Then, you can decorate your glass ball with colored metallic powder, beads and ribbon. A long tail would be a proof that it is your own creation.
You can feel the Christmas spirit all year round by visiting Klin and Khimki in the Moscow Region, where you will visit the museum, observe the making of Christmas tree decorations and blow and paint your own. If you plan to visit Klinskoye Podvorye Museum in Klin in summer, just check the timetable on the website. To visit Stil Studia in Khimki in the summertime, you have to book the dates in April. December and January is a peak season, so it is better to book the date and time in advance. In both places, you can definitely buy some hand-made Christmas tree decorations.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.